Comment: Proof that modern systems and well-reared birds are a recipe for success

By Matt Donald, pig and poultry farmer, north Yorkshire

Having just depleted a flock of broiler breeders we are waiting on the last hatches to come through to give us our final chick per bird figure. This is a significant KPI for us and is based on chicks hatched and graded at the hatchery, per point of lay pullet. We are on target to have our best result, yet exceeding 160 chicks per bird and getting close to 165.

Credit has to go to the great team on the farm. This is their third flock through, and neither of them have any previous poultry experience, so it is a sign that good management of modern systems combined with well reared birds has the potential for strong results. Once past peak production it only takes two (hard working) members of staff to look after 35,000 birds, helped by the Prinzen packer. The good performance has been something positive and motivating, in what has been a challenging time.

Significant improvements have been made in performance over recent flocks, the next challenge is continuing to build on these, which starts with the wash down. The cleaner the sheds and site, the healthier the start.  We use a local firm Precision Cleaning, which does an exceptional job in making sure the site is spotless and ready for the next birds when they come at 18 weeks of age.

We get a scissor lift in to wash all the ventilation systems down from inside and out. Too often it’s the areas above the fans that can get missed and we like to make sure these are done, otherwise rain can wash dust back into the shed from the chimneys. It should take around 10 days to wash the site and all equipment down, allowing for some drying time before the disinfection programme commences. We apply two wet disinfectants and fog one, therefore there should be nowhere that gets missed.


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